Lao coffee is seriously good – especially if you like your coffee strong and full-bodied. Whilst the majority of coffee in Laos is grown on the Bolaven Plateau, specialty roasters and extraordinary coffee shops can be found right throughout the country including Luang Prabang. Coffee has been a staple of Laos ever since it was introduced in the early twentieth century. As a result, coffee spots in Luang Prabang & throughout Laos have sprung up in every kind of iteration from street vendor to Western-style cafés. In the early 20th century, most of Laos’ Arabica crops were wiped out by orange rust disease, hence most farmers chose to replant with the hardier Robusta variety.
In Lao, coffee is pronounced “khaafeh” (similar to how you would say café). If you want real Lao coffee, you must order “khaafeh Lao”. And the Lao version of coffee should not be missed by anyone travelling in Laos..
1. Pasaneyom Coffee Shop
The first cafe in Luang Prabang. Pasaneyom Coffee shop is not a place where you would sit with a laptop or casually read the newspaper; it is an experience in itself. If you are someone who prefers to enjoy new experiences with new friends, you can always join a popular food tour that starts nearby. Located by the Mekong you can watch daily life happening on the road outside. There is seating inside the cafe and across the road by the Menong River.
2. Family Bakery
NK SEEDS, partnered with Family Bakery, a solidarity restaurant located in Luang Prabang city. Profit is reinvested in projects in northern Laos. Family Bakery does a lovely breakfast. It is a small establishment close to the Nam Khan river and opened recently. The cushion floor seating creates a fairly laid-back atmosphere that is ideal for relaxing (leave your shoes at the door). Family Bakery is a favorite among budget and backpackers due to its reasonable prices and vicinity to several hostels in the region.
3. Le Café Ban Vat Sene
This is a colonial-style café just off the main Sisavangvong Road. With a connection to the upscale L’Elephant restaurant merely two blocks away, it definitely has a classy feel and has been a staple in Luang Prabang for many years. For Breakfast, lunch and dinner you will find a selection of French and Lao dishes. Enjoy this venue which boasts free Wi-Fi internet access and provides magazines and newspapers in different languages.
The story of Saffron Coffee is an uplifting one that deserves to be shared. The Hmong, Khamu, & Yao (Mien) who lived up in the highlands were unable to grow typical crops like the rest of Lao. They turned to opium as a way to earn income until the government banned this practice. This resulted in the groups resorting to slash-and-burn agriculture. A researcher realized that these mountainous areas would be perfect for coffee cultivation & Saffron was born.
Saffron says that it always buys the entire amount of coffee cultivated from these ethnic minorities in order to provide them with income. We recommend you visit and support these growers.
If you are a tourist, you would be hard-pressed not to stop in at least one of the two Joma Coffee shops in town. Joma opened in Vientiane in 1996 and Luang Prabang in 1999. They have branches in Vietnam and Cambodia. Strong air-conditioning creates a good environment to cool off. Joma has a selection of North American inspired lunch dishes and their own baked goods and after 7 pm they have a plate of day-old pastries available that are 50% off.
6. Le Banneton Café (aka the French Bakery)
Near the end of the peninsula on the main road, Le Banneton Cafe sits quietly across from Wat Sop. It is known as the ‘French Bakery’ since it sells many baked goods that can be also be ordered to take away. There is almost zero traffic in this area of town, so it is truly a stress-free place to enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning or afternoon. The menu is written with English translations of French menu items printed much smaller & off to the side.
Le Banneton Cafe is a great place to go with someone else to enjoy a meal together.
7. 96 Coffee
96 Coffee is a part of the Luang Prabang Inn hotel. Unassuming from the outside but once inside the shaded courtyard is quiet and a relaxing place to meet up with others. The atmosphere is comfortable enough to spend a few hours here in peace. The Cappuccino was sweet so try your luck with a long black or an Americano.
8. Formula B
Located above Madame Bouffa boutique on the Main Street. This trendy café is the meeting place for Instagrammers in Luang Prabang due to the Bangkok-inspired interior design of Formula B. It’s visually appealing with exposed brick walls, great natural light, and an artsy selection of good cakes. Both serious coffee drinkers and casual drinkers will love it. It can get busy. The carrot cake is spectacular.
9. Comma Coffee
Comma Coffee is allocated just down the road from Wat Visounarath, but you’d be forgiven if you didn’t see it at first. Comma Vientiane expanded into Luang Prabang in 2020. Walk through the main cafe area after ordering your food and drink and head to the back garden where the quietest, air-conditioned space is waiting for you, complete with the Instagrammable round window. There’s plenty of seating (both indoors and outdoors), lots of natural light, and a menu with both coffee and food.
10. Dao Coffee
Considering it’s adjacent to Amantaka, it’s no wonder this place is decorated like a five-star hotel lobby. Dao Coffee is very classy and the atmosphere is relaxed and quiet, and the free wifi makes it a great place to work. Probably not the nicest coffee in town however you should try their signature drink the Iced Mocha. Last but not least, sooner or later you’ll come across his pack of 3-1 Instants from Dao Coffee.
11. Le Petit Prince Cafe (어린왕자카페)
Looking for great coffee with fresh, healthy food? Le Petit Prince Café might just be the place you’ve been looking for if you are looking for a quiet cafe away from the hussle. This cafe and its staff take pride in the fresh ingredients they use (they have a vegetable farm and use these ingredients). The menu is healthy and varied. Items such as Aibob, Chicken Katsu, and Cobb Salad sit alongside a drink menu consisting of iced mochas, classic cappuccinos, and sodas.
12. Coffee Express
Centrally located around town (not far from Dao Coffee), enter through the traditional wooden ‘hut’ and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the low relaxing chairs by the pond. Sit inside or choose a spot outside by the pond. A little oasis to relax in and enjoy seriously good coffee. The 2 Khmu staff are delightful and they serve up some of the best coffee in town. Pastries are available as well. Hot and iced coffees are both superb.
13. Cafe Sinouk
Cafe Sinouk combines a Laotian menu with a long list of coffee drinks served iced, mixed or hot. The cafe’s founder, Sinouk, finally to his native Laos in 1994 after spending 30 years in France. Upon his return, Sinouk was determined to create jobs in southern Laos and develop businesses that could be exported to contribute to Laos’ reputation. This is how Sinouk coffee was born. Sinouk also founded the Lao Coffee Association (LCA) with his father, Sisku Sisombat, which focuses on promoting the well-being of Lao coffee farmers.
14. 360 Sunset
A popular cafe spot by day and beer bar by night. The menu is in Lao but you will be able to order your favorite tipple. It is a quiet spot and the perfect venue to enjoy some quiet as you enjoy a good cup of Joe. Set by the Mekong River it also makes a perfect spot to watch the sunset where you switch out espresso and savor some Beerlao instead.
15. Two Little Birds
A small, family-run cafe in Luang Prabang dedicated to supplying healthy food from locally sourced produce. Find it behind Dao Coffee, Next to Amantaka Hotel. The vegan-friendly menu items include smoothie bowls, vegetable curries, and traditional Lao coffee (there is no espresso machine). Super friendly. Try their berry smoothie bowl or green (or red) curry – delish.
16. LuLaLao Coffee
Another recently opened coffee shop is just a few steps from Wat Visounarath, it is small so easy to miss. A variety of specialty pour-over coffees are available here. Each cup is meticulously handcrafted to perfection by the workers at LuLaLao, who are super nice. After visiting the neighboring temple, this is a nice place to meet up with friends for a catch-up or to cool off with a coffee soda. Not recommended for eating due to a very small menu. $$$
17. Indigo Coffee
The food at Indigo is excellent, and it is conveniently located on the main street directly across from the Luang Prabang night market on the corner. Numerous vegan and gluten-free alternatives are available at Indigo. A nice spot to chill on the night market. In the evening go upstairs for magical sunset views. $$$
18. Big Tree Cafe
This South Korean-owned café has a long history in Luang Prabang of serving great coffee and a fusion of Lao/Korean food in a beautiful, natural setting beside the Mekong River. Food is superb. Big Tree’s garden lights up at sundown, creating an intimate ambiance for a sundowner as well. There is also an Art Gallery upstairs.
19. Zurich Bread Factory and Cafe
The bread from Zurich is great if a little pricey. Mainly known for its bread, it is also a good place to stop for a coffee and watch the passers-by on the main road. There is also an upstairs area little known which is a great place for a group needing a little more privacy or space. $$$
T56 is another new cafe in Luang Prabang. Walk into this two-story café and you’ll instantly be cooled off thanks to the intense air-conditioning. T56 Cafe & Bar has 3 zones with different atmospheres: Cafe, Terrace on the Mekong, and cocktail Bar. They Serve Lao-fusion savory and sweet dishes, decent coffee and delicious cocktails. $$$
21. Dada Coffee
This popular corner café is known for its blue exterior and pastel pink interior and has plenty of space. They offer riverside seating outdoors beside the Mekong, as well as two floors of booths and tables, and an outdoor balcony with tables. A selection of brownies etc are available. The coffee is good.
22. Visoun Cafe
The latest cafe to open in Luang Prabang in Jan 2023 is inside the Lao Red Cross premises (well known for Lao massage and herbal sauna). The Cafe serves coffee from DaDa Coffee and is a lovely spot to sit and watch the world go by. Easily accessible and across from the famous Wat Visoun you will enjoy a rest here before a must-visit across the road to witness Wat Visoun the oldest Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang originally built in 1513.
23. Mineral Coffee and Mineral Freshy Farm ສວນໝາກກ້ຽງ ຫຼັກ10
Mineral Coffee has two venues. One in the Sanakeo Hotel on Pouvao Road where they serve great coffee and shakes. There is plenty of seating and some outdoor seating as well. It is a popular cafe. Mineral Coffee also has a second location on the way to Tad Sae waterfall open on Weekends approx 9 km from town. Located on an Orange Farm you can sip on your chosen brew beside the pond while updating your Instagram (again).
24. Simple Coffee Pot
We saved the best to last! This is such a gem we feel a little reluctant to post about it. Centrally located near popular guesthouses, a lovely Lao couple operates another newly opened Cafe since mid-2022. A small cafe but big on charm and friendly service. Using Italian Coffee percolators over a portable gas burner they will make you a satisfying coffee while you sit in the garden and watch tourists pass by.